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How Google Is Becoming More Inclusive with Black-Owned Businesses

Google continues to become more inclusive and responsive in an important way. During Black History Month, Google has been making it easier for people to find Black-owned businesses in searches. For example, visitors to Google’s home page on February 15  were greeted with a search prompt showing them how to do “near me” searches for Black-owned businesses:

Clicking on the prompt revealed Black-owned businesses nearby:

A similar prompt also appeared on Google Maps:

In addition, Google announced recently that it’s extending the Google My Business (GMB) Black-owned business attribute to Google’s Shopping tab. As a result, people can easily identify and buy from Black-owned businesses on Google. (Business owners can add the Black-owned business attribute by visiting the Google Merchant Help Center.) The feature will become visible to shoppers and available to all U.S. Google Merchants in coming months.

These changes expand on some steps that Google took in 2020 to be more purpose-driven and inclusive. As I wrote on Search Engine Land in December of 2020, Google also:

  • Added “Black-owned” as a business attribute to local listings (cited to above).
  • Updated Google Assistant to provide more mindful answers to questions about Black Lives Matter.

These actions are both the right and sensible thing to do at a time when Google’s U.S. user base is increasingly diverse and it seeks to hire more Black workers at senior levels. As Google noted on its blog on February 1, in the past 12 months, Google search interest for “black owned businesses” has risen 600 percent based on Google Trends data comparing January-December 2019 to January-December 2020. 

Google’s attempts to help small business owners during the pandemic are also an example of doing what is right and sensible. When Google said it was offering ad credits to SMBs affected by Covid-19, the company was being purposeful, yes – and at the same time, Google was protecting its base of future ad revenue. And SMBs of all types need help, especially Black-owned businesses. A new study by Block Advisors reported that more than half of Black-owned small businesses experienced at least a 50-percent decrease in revenue during the pandemic compared to only 37-percent among white business owners. It’s in everyone’s best interest for Google to do its part to help. 

What Businesses Should Do

If you are a Black-owned business, capitalize on the ways Google is amplifying your presence by adding the Black-owned attribute and understanding other ways Google is taking action to help. In addition, businesses everywhere that manage GMB listings should continue to pay attention to how Google is becoming more inclusive because those changes may affect you. For instance, did you know that Google makes it possible for businesses to add “LGBTQ-Friendly” and “Transgender Safe Space” attributes to your GMB listings, and that Google offers tools to support women-led businesses?

To learn more about how to make your business more visible and relevant to your customers’ needs on Google, contact Reputation

Topic: Through Leadership
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